Editorial - A Matter Of Perspective

by Joseph H Hunting

Most of us would, if we ever stopped to give the matter serious thought, concede that if God were ordering the affairs of mankind things would be a lot better on this old planet. But God in His wisdom has given mankind a free will and Adam and Eve were the first of many who have chosen to ignore God's direct will for the good of mankind.

Another classic example of God's will being ignored is Joshua's decision to make a covenant or enter into a league with the Gibeonites which was forbidden by God (see THE VINEYARD June 1991). The Gibeonites had deceived Joshua by claiming to have come from a far country and their deception was well planned and executed. Perhaps Joshua had other things on his mind at the time. However, the Bible simply states that Joshua "sought not the counsel of the Lord" .

There is a similar situation confronting Israel today. Instead of Gibeonites read Palestinians. Now let us view this current problem from both God's perspective and man's. Before Israel ever set foot on the soil of the Promised Land "the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance; when He separated the sons of Adam, HET SET THE BOUNDS OF THE PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL" (Deuteronomy 32:8).

Again, it was God who set the bounds for Israel's inheritance. Furthermore, He instructed Israel that they were not to set as much as a foot upon the territory He had allotted to the forbears of the Arab nations.

So much for the Divine perspective. Now let us look at the problem from man's perspective, bearing in mind Joshua's mistake. Following World War One not only was Europe carved up at the whim of Allied governments, but the Middle East also suffered the same fate, when Britain and France carved up the area so that they might have access to the immense oil deposits in the Middle East.

In 1922 Winston Churchill, on behalf of the British government, drew imaginary lines in the desert sands and created Iraq as an Arab kingdom under a sheikh known as Faisal I. Similar lines were drawn that marked out huge territory for the Saudi sheikdom, as well as Kuwait and the Arab Emirates. A further division was also made which was called Transjordan (now Jordan) which was given to Faisal's brother, Abdullah. France carved up what was left, thus creating modern Syria and Lebanon.

Thus we see that, whereas God is responsible for the territory now occupied by Israel which includes the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Gaza, it was man who created the boundaries of the Arab nations now occupying the Middle East.

The current peace plan for the Middle East is an extension of what man has already done. In short, the U.S., U.N., and Russia see a further Arab state for Palestinians on the soil that God has specifically given to Israel.

Historians may well lay the blame for the recent Middle East war on the nations that supplied Iraq with weaponry that made the war possible. Like the Ancient Mariner the Western powers created an albatross to hang about their collective neck when they divided up the Middle East with greed as their motive. To create a further Arab state on the territory that God specifically gave to Israel will only compound the problem. A far better plan would be for the Arab states to abandon their hatred of Israel, the Palestinians abandon the intifada and in return Israel could make concessions to heal the bitterness that now exists between both parties.

Mankind has created the problem that now exists. However, flying in the face of God's direct will for territory He has given to Israel is not the solution. World leaders sponsoring the program for peace in the Middle East would do well to heed God's warning: "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder."